The Bibtex Bibliographic Format


This document contains information describing:

  1. The form of a Bibtex reference
  2. The fields used by Bibtex
  3. Examples of Bibtex References

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A. The Form of a Bibtex Reference

Bibtex references appear in the following format:


For a given type, each field is either required, optional, or ignored. The text of a field must either be enclosed in double quotes (i.e. "field") or braces (i.e. {field}). These quotes or braces may be optionally omitted around text consisting entirely of numerals. If a field has multiple entries, for example a book that is coauthored, the field should be entered once and multiple names combined with "and", as in "Bob Smith and Sally Jones". Currently, the Citation system requires each field of a Bibtex reference to be on a single line. Following is a list of each possible field:

  B. Fields Used by Bibtex


abstract: An abstract of the work.
address: Publisher's address. For major publishing houses, just the city is given. For small publishers, you can help the reader by giving the complete address.
affiliation: The author's affiliation.
annote: An annotation. It is not used by he standard bibliography styles, but may be used by others that produce an annotated bibliography.
author: The name(s) of the author(s).
booktitle:  Title of a book, part of which is being cited. For book entries, use the title field instead.
chapter: A chapter (or section) number.
contents: A Table of Contents.
copyright: Copyright information.
crossref: The database key of the entry being cross-referenced.
edition:  The edition of a book - for example "Second". Notice that it is in capitals.
editor:  Name(s) of editor(s). If there is also an author field, then the editor field gives the editor of the book or collection in which the reference appears.
howpublished: How something strange has been published. The first word should be capitalized.
institution: The sponsoring institution of a technical report.
ISBN: The International Standard Book Number.
ISSN: The International Standard Serial Number. Used to identify a journal.
journal:  A journal name. Abbreviations are provided for many journals.
key:  Used for alphabetizing and creating a label when the author and editor fields are missing. This field should not be confused with the key that appears at the beginning of the reference.
keywords: Key words used for searching or possibly for annotation.
language: The language the document is written in.
LCCN: The Library of Congress Call Number.
location: A location associated with the entry, such as the city in which a conference took place.
month:  The month in which the work was published or, for an unpublished work, in which it was written.
mrnumber: The Mathematical Reviews number.
note: Any additional information that can help the reader. First word should be capitalized.
number:  The number of a journal, magazine, technical report, or of a work in a series. An issue of a journal or magazine is usually identified by its volume and number; the organization that issues a technical report usually gives it a number; and sometimes books are given numbers in a named series.
organization:  The organization that sponsors a conference or publishes a manual.
pages: One or more page numbers or ranges of number, such as 37--42, or 7,53,82--94.
price: The price of the material.
publisher: The publisher's name.
school: The name of the school where a thesis was written.
series: Then name given a series or set of books. When citing an entire book, the title field gives its title and the optional series field gives the name of a series in which the book was published.
size: The physical dimensions of the work.
title: The work's title.
type: The type of technical report - for example, "Research Note".
url: The WWW Universal Resource Locator that points to the item being referenced. Often used for technical reports to point to the FTP site where it resides.
volume: The volume of a journal or multivolume book.
year: The year of publication or, for an unpublished work, the year it was written. It should only consist of numerals, such as 1976.


A reference can be to any of a variety of types. Following is a list of types. Each one also explains the fields associated with that type. Any fields not listed as required or optional are considered to be ignored.

article: An article from a journal or magazine. Required fields: author, title, journal, year. Optional fields: volume, number, pages, month, note, key.
book: A book with an explicit publisher. Required fields: author or editor, title, publisher, year. Optional fields: volume, series, address, edition, month, note, key.
booklet:  A work that is printed and bound, but without a named publisher or sponsoring institution. Required fields: title. Optional fields: author, howpublished, address, month, year, note, key.
collection: A collection of works. Same as Proceedings.
conference: The same as Inproceedings.
inbook: A part of a book, which may be a chapter and/or a range of pages. Required fields: author or editor, title, chapter and/or pages, publisher, year. Optional fields: volumer, series, address, edition, month, note, key.
incollection: A part of a book with its own title. Required fields: author, title, booktitle, publisher, year. Optional fields: editor, pages, organization, publisher, address, month, note, key.
inproceedings: An article in a conference proceedings. Required fields: author, title, booktitle, year. Optional fields: editor, pages, organization, publisher, address, month, note, key.
manual:  Technical documentation. Required fields: title. Optional fields: author, organization, address, edition, month, year, note.
mastersthesis: A Master's thesis. Required fields: author, title, school, year. Optional fields: address, month, note, key.
misc: Use this type when nothing else fits. Required fields: none. Optional fields: author, title, howpublished, month, year, note, key.
patent: A patent.
phdthesis: A Ph.D. thesis. Required fields: author, title, school, year. Optional fields: address, month, note, key.
proceedings: The proceedings of a conference. Required fields: title, year. Optional fields: editor, publisher, organization, address, month, note, key.
techreport: A report published by a school or other institution, usually numbered within a series. Required fields: author, title, institution, year. Optional fields: type, number, address, month, note, key.
unpublished: A document with an author and title, but not formally published. Required fields: author, title, note. Optional fields: month, year, key.


C. Examples of Bibtex References




AUTHOR = "Donald E. Knudson",
TITLE = "1966 World Gnus Almanac",
PUBLISHER = {Permafrost Press},
ADDRESS = {Novosibirsk} }


author = "X. Ai and H. S. Cheng",
title = "Influence of moving dent on point {EHL} contacts",
journal = "Tribol. Trans.",
volume = "37",
year = "1994",
pages = "323--335",


Last Modified: Summer 1998.